Requirement of Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccine for Entrance intoSecondary SchoolBackgroundThe Virginia General Assembly passed a law in the 2014 legislative session requiring that all students entering sixth grade must have a diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis vaccine (Tdap) booster unless the student has received a Tdap vaccine after the age of seven years.Purpose of New Required VaccineThe primary purpose of the new requirement is to add protection for pertussis (whooping cough). Children are typically vaccinated against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT) as babies. The last diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus (DPT) vaccine is given to children between the ages of four and six. Five to ten years after the last immunization is given, the protection against pertussis (whooping cough) begins to wear off. Until recently, the vaccine for pertussis was not approved for those over the age of seven. However, a new vaccine for pertussis (whooping cough) has now been approved for use in older children. This vaccine is incorporated into the vaccine that is given for diphtheria and tetanus (Tdap). Only one dose of Tdap is required, regardless of the interval since the last dose of pertussis-containing vaccine.Immunization RecordThe tetanus immunization may be listed on a child's immunization record as T, Td, DTaP, and/or Tdap. Please note that Tdap is a different vaccine than the DTaP vaccine.Where to Obtain the ImmunizationImmunizations may be obtained from a physician, military clinic, or the Loudoun County Health Department.
The Loudoun County Health Department will provide the immunizations at no cost if it is required for school.Documentation of Vaccine Required to Enter Middle and High SchoolDocumentation of the Tdap vaccine before the first day of school should be sent or delivered to the student's middle school or high school. Any student without documentation of having received a Tdap vaccine after the age of seven years will be excluded from school the first day of class.Last Modified on August 1, 2016